This page is for the second Aqualad, Jackson Hyde. For the first Aqualad see: Tempest.
Jackson Hyde is an average student with a girlfriend in Silver City, New Mexico. Since he was a young boy, he’s been taught by his parents to stay away from water, because his true parents might be able to locate him and certain changes happen to Jackson when he gets in the water.
Jackson has kept this secret hidden for years, from his girlfriend about being afraid of drowning and unable to swim, and being in the dark about the mysterious tattoos he’s had since birth. But soon something force him to go out into the open and dive into the water. Later Aquaman is contacted by the Entity, which tells him to find Jackson before someone else does, which might be Siren and her Death Squad.
Jackson goes outside his house, while raining, where he displays for the first time his abilities. He began controlling the water from the rain and his tattoos and eyes begin to glow. At this moment he as revealed to have gills and webbed hands. Its also revealed that Black Manta is actually his real father, and that Mera also displays knowledge of Jackson.
Jackson's adoptive father after witnessing him in the rain, takes him to a cottage by the sea. He tells him the truth about his real parents. That Mera had given Jackson to him, asking that he keep him away from his parents, and he was given an Atlantean chest to be opened when the truth is discovered. Before Jackson can open the chest, Black Manta attacks, almost killing Jackson's adoptive father before Aquaman arrives on the scene.
Jackson Hyde, originally named Kaldur'ahm, was born in Xebel, the underwater penal colony of Atlantis located in the Bermuda Triangle. While pregnant with Jackson, his mother was attacked and apprehended by Xebelian outlaws in a lifeboat within the Bermuda Triangle. After taking the mother to Xebel, the Xebelian’s performed experiments on Jackson and his mother in an attempt to discover a biological escape mechanism from their underwater prison. His mother was killed during the experimentation, while Jackson lived. The experiments that were performed on Jackson gave him powers to manipulate water constructs, breathe underwater, and instantaneously grow webbed hands and feet.
Mera, fearing that the Xebelian’s or the Atlanteans would kill Jackson due to his suspected power to open the prison within the Bermuda Triangle, kidnapped him when she left Xebel. Mera brought the boy to a surface couple, who raised him as their own in New Mexico.
This version of Aqualad was created by Greg Weisman, Brandon Vietti and Phil Bourassa for the Cartoon Network's Young Justice animated series, where he was featured rather than the original Aqualad, Garth. The character's Atlantean name, Kaldur'ahm, and his connection to Black Manta initially suggested that he was not created as a brand new character but actually a heavily re-imagined Cal Durham. This theory was later proven to be false when the show's official tie-in comic book revealed that within the series' continuity, Cal Durham is an entirely separate character from Kaldur'ahm.
Geoff Johns, who was involved in the series as DC's Chief Creative Officer, saw value in its take on Aqualad. As a result, he and Ivan Reis created a comic adaptation of Kaldur'ahm and debuted him in Brightest Day before the Young Justice series premiered. Changes had to be made in order for the character to fit into comic continuity, so Kaldur was raised on the surface as Jackson Hyde to explain how Aquaman could have been unaware of his existence for so long.
Major Story Arcs
For further details: Brightest Day
Now a teenager, Jackson had been raised with only partial truths about who he was. He knew that contact with water somehow empowered him, and to protect him, his parents had raised him to avoid water. The time came when that would no longer be possible, though. Terrorists escaped Xebel and were seeking him out with the aid of his biological father, Black Manta. At the same time, the Entity of the White Lantern gave the recently resurrected Aquaman the mission of finding Jackson first.
Aquaman arrived just in time to protect Jackson and his adoptive father from Black Manta and Siren. Jackson's adoptive parents were taken to safety, and he reluctantly agreed to help Aquaman . Jackson as the new Aqualad, had the power to lock the Bermuda Triangle and prevent the full scale invasion from Xebel.
Aquaman and Aqualad headed for the Triangle only to swim head into an army of Xebelians, who had already emerged from the opened Bermuda Triangle. Jackson suddenly found himself fighting an army on the beaches of Florida. In the course of the battle, Jackson fought Black Manta and was confronted directly with just how cruel and uncaring his biological father was. Then the arrival of Mera and Aquagirl turned the tide in Aquaman's favor, and the Xebelians were driven back into the Bermuda Triangle, where Jackson successfully sealed the dimensional barrier to end their threat.
Power and Abilities
Aqualad has the ability to breathe underwater with gill slits on the sides of his neck to extract oxygen from the water. Contact with water appears to bring the gills out along with giving him webbed hands and feet. He also has hydrokinesis, the ability to increase the local specific density of water and then manipulate its shape, similar to Mera and other citizens of Xebel. Different from them, he also has the ability to generate electricity. This electrical control is not as refine as his control over water, meaning he does not create constructs of electricity. His electric shocks are transmitted either by touch or through his water constructs.
In the Young Justice animated series, the source of Aqualad's powers is his knowledge of Atlantean sorcery. However, his powers appear to be the result of scientific experimentation done on him as an infant in comic continuity.
As he is an Atlantean in full in the show, the attribute of his gills and webbed feet appearing only when wet is not applied here, instead these features are always noticeable.
Due to being from the outside world, Aqualad is able to effect the barrier that separates Xebel from the rest of the world. This presumably allows him to pass through it as well as open or close it.
Weapons and Equipment
Aqualad wields two hilt-like devices called Waterbearers. They focus his hydrokinetic power, allowing him to quickly and easily form weapons with them. He typically keeps them on holsters upon his back.
Young Justice (Animated series)
For further details: Young Justice
Originally created for this animated series, the fundamental difference between this Aqualad and the version of him adapted for comics was that this Aqualad was raised in Atlantis as an Atlantean. Therefore, he never got the surface name of Jackson Hyde, going by the name Kaldur'ahm, and developed a different personality. Also, the source of his water powers was much less unique, because in this continuity, his brand of water sorcery is commonly taught in Atlantis to the magically gifted.
In the series' continuity, Kaldur became Aqualad instead of Garth, who chose instead to focus on his sorcery studies. As such, Kaldur was among the first generation of this world's sidekicks along with Dick Grayson, Wally West and Roy Harper. He became a founding member of the first team of teen heroes, namely Young Justice, and was its first leader because he was apparently the most level headed and wisest member.
He is voiced by Khary Payton, who previously voiced Cyborg in the Teen Titans cartoon.
Young Justice: Invasion
Kaldur reappears in the sequel series, set five years after the events of the original show. He is no longer a member of the team, and now works for his biological father, Black Manta. During a battle against his former friends, it is revealed that Kaldur left the group after the death of his ex-girlfriend, Tula. His combat skills have improved, as he is shown easily besting both Aquaman and Superboy in combat. During an attack on a shuttle launch organized by Carol Ferris, Kaldur captures Lagoon Boy and kills Artemis in cold blood. This is later revealed to be an elaborate ruse orchestrated by Nightwing, with Kaldur in reality working undercover to spy on his father's organization. Now declared dead, Artemis joins Kaldur in his infiltration under the new identity of Tigress. Meanwhile, unaware of Artemis' survival Kaldur's true loyalties, Superboy and Mal Duncan vow to exact vengeance on their former comrade.
After his confrontation with Miss Martian in "Before The Dawn", he is now in a vegetable state. Sportsmaster and Cheshire are now revealed to be going after Aqualad due to him "killing" Artemis. In "The Fix", Black Manta orders Tigress and Deathstroke to kidnap Miss Martian, who he plans to force into healing Kaldur's mind. The plan is somewhat successful, though Miss Martian admits that repairing Kaldur's brain will take weeks to complete. She succeeds, and Kaldur and Miss Martian disguised as Deathstroke infiltrate the Light's meeting and ultimately save the world.
Aqualad will be a playable character in Young Justice Legacy.